Finding the Achilles’ heel

September 22, 2014

Once upon a time there was some sort of yogi.  He enjoyed his talents and gifts, maybe a little too much.  Or maybe he just became too self-conscious and nervous about how it was he was able to do what he did.  Or maybe nothing he did or didn’t do had anything to do with it, but at some point in time he ceased being able to connect with his power source, and his abilities became hollow shells  —  he could no longer be the wise person he had formerly been, but he found he could fake it.   Maybe he thought it would be temporary, and so he justified developing work-arounds to get him through the desert of not being able to actually do what he used to do but look as though he were.  In any event, he didn’t admit to anybody that something significant had changed and that he was no longer the person he used to be.  [Actually he was the same person, he just wasn’t the person who could currently do what he used to do.]

This went on for some time, until one of his former students figured out a way to verify for herself that he was using superficial mental processes instead of participating in the flow.

She dyed her hair, she lived among the poor and down-trodden, she became herself one of them.  And then she went to him.  He of course didn’t recognize her, he just dealt with her as someone who made him feel uncomfortable.

Instead of engaging, he ducked.

While superficially his dismissal could be processed in other ways, she could perceive that it actually covered over the nervous fear of a child who is in way over his head.

So she left things at that, because she at least had the ability to perceive that while she could make the situation worse, she couldn’t make the situation better;  for that, the inner little boy needed to be grown up, and for that, he needed to feel safe enough to grow up, and to facilitate that, the only thing that could possibly help was for her to leave as he wished her to do.

While she still had the difficulties in her life to deal with, she had satisfied her need to verify what she had suspected on the basis of other indications:  that there was something going on that was not as it seemed.  She had also found a basis for the discrepancy.

It wasn’t just the evidence of a single incident that confirmed her suspicions, it was also the way the yogi tried to manage the aftermath.  There were many things he could have done afterwards to adjust what had happened, but all he did was more of the same.

The former student felt bad, not just for herself but also for her yogi, too.  She found that she could feel gratitude that he was in this world, that she could accept that he was doing his best, and that she could learn that she didn’t have to condone the particulars to feel that gratitude and compassion or that she had to express that gratitude or compassion in a way that would contribute to the problem, regardless of what anyone else said.  She also didn’t have to pretend that things were other than they were.

What she did have to do was to wait and to listen, to hear what would come next.

And, of course, she missed the way her yogi had been before, that was a sadness in her heart.

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9 Responses to “Finding the Achilles’ heel”

  1. Matthew Brooks Says:

    It’s an interesting story.

    Such is life. One generation gives way to the next. We must largely separate from our parents (the state of subordination/dependency) in order to realise ourselves, and every season has its own reason for being. Acceptance is key (both coming and going). There are periods of change (disequilibrium), and then the system reorganises itself; new, viable, stable connections are made. One comes to rise on one’s own, so to speak, and another learns to give way gracefully; some fail to rise and some stand in the way, but the process completes itself all the same.

    The flow moves on. A flower blooms, then folds in and fades. One doesn’t grow forever and one can’t sit still; from the top of a mountain there is one way forward.

    Winter gives way to summer; summer gives way to winter. The young woman one day will have a grown son of her own who must also learn the value of distance.

    • Matthew Brooks Says:

      My wife adds (and I was thinking this too) that your protagonist’s response to the yogi is typically female. If I did hide (I don’t think I would have) I would not have remained hidden. There is value in truth and recognition/reckoning. Once he knows that I know; and I know that he knows that I know, that’s transformative. A new paradigm/currency is introduced.

      The operation of “common knowledge” is also the basis for a really cool puzzle;

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_knowledge_(logic)#Example

      • Matthew Brooks Says:

        Maybe we do cycle repeatedly in one lifetime. We trade disappointments and joys back and forth; take turns ascending and descending, turning on and off so to speak. I still do think there is an apex of sorts, and the greatest rises coincide with those who embody their generation’s reason for being. Maybe there is an apex of wisdom too that comes later on.

        I think it’s also possible to remain honest and connected as we age if one is intent enough. Horatio Nelson comes to mind. So does Shimon Peres.

        It’s also worth remarking that heat follows light; what impressed the girl most was kinetic. Down the mountain energy and gravity unite and movement flourishes; but nearly all the work/purification was done beforehand. The crowd is always behind the curve – even a crowd of 1.

      • Diana Moses Says:

        This is to some extent, I think, a lesson about encountering powerlessness and how it is an opportunity to step aside and allow for greater forces to work instead. That the student has no leverage is a benefit in the long run, she just has to realize that it is not about her. She sees herself as one in a long series of players in the role over time, and that certainly helps her see that. The other thing that helps is that she can see that this story is no more important than any other.

      • Matthew Brooks Says:

        Hmm, I read this two ways; encountering the powerlessness of the other and that of oneself. The first interpretation makes more sense to me, tho you may have intended the second. That makes sense too eventually, but I think we must also do what we can while we can, and there is power in good will (giving the benefit of the doubt). At some point it may become impossible even so, but then stepping aside happens naturally (tho perhaps it’s good to be aware of the necessity beforehand). Eventually we must allow others to fall (gravity is that greater force) – to go full circle (one can’t go full circle without falling). That’s where the first interpretation makes sense; that it’s not really a lack of power on the girl’s part (the fact that her awareness has subsumed the yogi’s implies her power is superior) – it’s the lack of a viable outlet or connection for it.

        We shouldn’t sell ourselves short – at the same time it also makes sense not to tie ourselves up (positively or negatively) on a sinking ship.

      • Diana Moses Says:

        Even if the situation could have been resolved if the yogi had done something more helpful, the student knew it didn’t matter, so long as she could be a conduit for other forces to come into the situation, which of course required her to keep her own stuff out of the way sufficiently. When in doubt we can always “turn it over.” I even did that the other day when I was having trouble threading a needle — turned it over and the next attempt was successful. I know, I know, there’s another explanation … but at least I could get on with the sewing part of the task, whatever it was that helped.

      • Matthew Brooks Says:

        How can one be a conduit for other forces and also out of the way? An indirect conduit because her continued active (selfish) involvement would have been a spiritual block that held those greater forces at bay?

        I think that’s true but at the same time it’s hard to just write somebody off. Maybe at some point it becomes easier (when the situation becomes impossible) – when the person essentially writes himself off (ala “you decide your own level of involvement”). In the meantime there is a place for good will/self-sacrifice within reason. There’s also a place for faulting faults, tho it also makes sense that as the relationship diminishes, it becomes increasingly fraught to involve oneself. It makes sense to adjust somewhat gradually then.

      • Diana Moses Says:

        Like a Reiki master — one pulls the ego-self out of the way and allows other stuff to come through.

        I think if a person can mirror back to the other person their true level of involvement, the relationship will resolve, for better or for worse. The other person may not consciously admit that they don’t really want a relationship, especially one on equal terms.

      • Matthew Brooks Says:

        I think I see where you’re coming from; however, it’s too passive for me. Pulling the ego out of the way is appropriate to a point, but biologically it doesn’t make sense completely. We are programmed to actively connect with others, especially family. I don’t think it’s always so simple either (as yes/no wanting/not wanting a relationship). In many cases the other person does want a relationship, but s/he has other issues with oneself that prevent one from engaging in a healthy/successful way.

        The I Ching countenances “docility and devotion” and generosity in the bad time, and only later to withdraw when it is absolutely necessary.

        The outcome is not in doubt even with one’s continued involvement for the time being. The process is gradual and it resolves itself eventually. It’s not up to me to turn out the lights.


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